Palpitations! Headaches! Oh Gaud! Oh Gaud! Oh Gaud! Why did I agree to take up this extra bit of work! (in case there is some person up there lurking, note – the name of no Lord has been taken in vain)
Meeting deadlines, writing a half way decent article, juggling your other commitments, attending umpteen numbers of weddings/christenings/naming ceremonies/engagements could all add to your stress level. So, how does a smart content writer multitask? How does she manage to effortlessly meet all her deadlines, keep her appointments and still manage to have a life?
Let’s start at the beginning: how do you know you are under stress? If you have two or more of the following symptoms you are probably suffering from excessive stress:
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling anxious
- Social withdrawal
- Stomach ache Or Digestion problems
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of sex drive
- Resort to the use of drug, alcohol or tobacco
Content writers are not very different from people in other professions. Some amount of stress is normal with all professions, but too much stress can interfere with your productivity and impact your physical and emotional health.
So, how do smart content writers deal with stress?
- Resist perfectionism in your work. Not being able to meet your own expectations can work havoc with your stress levels. Aim to do your best, but do not set unrealistic goals for yourself.
- Proper time management is crucial. Prioritize your work based on deadlines and on the level of difficulty.
- Do not waste your time dithering over a particular project. Sometimes, the article that you put off writing because it was not interesting enough or too difficult turns out to be easier to write once you start working on it.
Cut back on your to-do-list. If it looks like you have too many things to do in a short period, distinguish between the “must do” and “should do” tasks. Delegate or drop tasks that do not need to be done on a necessity basis.
- Develop the capacity to meet challenges with humor. Having a hearty laugh can be the best stress buster. So read a book by Terry Pratchett, P.G. Wodehouse, or Khushwant Singh. Oh! Reading is not your thing? Then, switch on the T.V. Watch the talk shows on TIMES NOW. If you cannot see the humor in people trying to talk over each other with the anchor person talking even louder to get his last word in, try a more traditional comedy show like Just for Laughs or some other regional programme. Learn to understand the sensual symptoms of excessive stress.
- Take a break from work. Go for a walk. If the roads in your area are too busy, go to a nearby park. Sit on the bench and watch nature, birds (of the feathered variety), people, etc. Or go for a movie. May be, Shahrukh Khan idolizing Rajnikant will work wonders towards reducing your anxiety.
- Develop or pursue a hobby that will take your mind off work. Tend to a small garden; take up photography, baking or something else that will act as a stress buster. Listen to music, or buy a keyboard or a violin and make your own music.
Learn to say no. If you think you cannot add more work to your tightly packed work schedule, then you are probably right. So only take up as much assignments as you can finish on time.
- Be more assertive. If someone or something is taking time away from your work, tell them or take steps to change the situation. For example, if a neighbor or a colleague is disturbing you by being noisy or chatty, tell them politely, but assertively, that they are hampering your work schedule.
- Talk to your family members and friends. Sharing some of your worries and anxieties with them can be the most constructive way of dealing with stress.
- Set aside time everyday for doing activities that you enjoy and help you recharge your batteries.
Get up from that comfy chair and exercise. Give up on munching those potato chips and cookies. Reduce your intake of coffee and sweetened drinks. Eat a healthy diet.
Different people have different mechanisms for dealing with stress. It might not be easy for someone with a small child to go for a walk or to a movie. Some of you may also find it difficult to say no to a boss or a colleague when they dump work on you. So pick and choose what suits you best from the above mentioned tips for stress management. Focus on things you can change and work towards making those changes happen.